When Your Digital Life Lives on, Long after You Are Gone

08/07/2015

Nearly two-thirds of all Americans have a robust social media life, as well as an average of 25 online accounts, including social networking accounts, banking and financial accounts, according to a Microsoft study conducted in 2007. By now, those numbers may have increased. These digital accounts are now considered personal assets, and figuring out how to handle these assets after death is a relatively new legal challenge. Many websites and social media platforms have developed policies allowing for management of accounts after death, but it is a work in process for many more.

Today we have a better understanding of the fact that social media accounts are part of an individual's estate. Management of social media accounts after an individual passes is handled by the estate's executor, and according to a recent Philly.com article, "Social Media After Death,"should be treated like other assets.

Depending on where you live, the issue of digital asset management may also be further complicated. Right now there are 19 states that have laws on the books that protect digital assets and state how they are to be handled after you die.

In addition, there are some advocates trying to standardize the manner in which digital assets are handled across the states. The Uniform Law Commission (UFC) is working on this, but until this legislation is adopted, the article suggests that you talk with an estate planning attorney. He or she will have the latest information of how a deceased's digital assets are handled in your own state.

Reference: Philly.com (July 24, 2015) "Social Media After Death"